Graduate Program


Graduate assistantship opportunities in the Zimmerman School are highly competitive because they include a stipend, partial tuition waiver, and health benefits. Assistantships are awarded to applicants with high academic performance.

Assistantships are awarded to begin in the fall semester. Assistantships are a privilege and responsibility, not a right. Graduate Assistants (GAs) should approach their responsibilities with the same professionalism demanded in any employment situation.

Retaining an assistantship depends on availability of funding, performance evaluations as a graduate assistant, and at least a 3.0 GPA in all graduate courses.

In order to qualify for a graduate assistantship, students must be fully admitted to the Zimmerman School and registered as a full-time student (nine credits per semester). International applicants for graduate teaching assistantships must achieve a minimum score of 26 on the spoken portion of the Test of English as a Foreign Language, Internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT) or 160 on the spoken portion of the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) to qualify for consideration. The Office of Graduate Studies will consider these scores valid for up to 5 years after administration, so long as the student has dated supporting/official documentation. Please read the International Teaching Assistant Handbook for more information.

To apply for a graduate assistantship, complete the following by February 15 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

  • Complete this application survey; and 
  • Submit a recommendation letter from a university faculty mentor or current employer outlining your ability to work as a graduate assistant, in either a teaching capacity or teaching assistant. This letter should not focus on your ability as a student but rather your expertise in specific mass communication or advertising skills to serve in a leadership capacity. Email this recommendation letter to Travis Bell, Director of Graduate Programs and Research, at


  • First-year graduate assistants are generally awarded a .25 FTE (10 hours/week) assistantship.
  • With satisfactory progress, second-year graduate assistants might have their appointments increased to .50 FTE (20 hours/week).
  • Stipend amounts are reassessed annually.

Tuition Waivers

  • The graduate assistant tuition waiver covers 80% of the in-state tuition rate. This is particularly advantageous for out-of-state and international students because an assistantship reduces the tuition rate to in-state costs.
  • The remaining 20% of the tuition, plus fees, is the responsibility of the student. Graduate assistants also have a 9-week grace period to pay that balance.
  • Complete details on cost of attendance are available through the USF Office of Admissions.

Health Insurance

Graduate assistants are eligible for a subsidy for USF-sponsored health insurance. More details can be found on the Student Health Services website.